When my mom made panzerotti, she changed the traditional fried sausage turnover into a baked one by using Pepperidge Farm puff pastry. Usually, I avoid processed foods, but family members want the panzerotti they remember, so here is the original version for all you devotees of my mother’s panzerotti. Use the smaller amounts of sausage, eggs and puff paste to make 18 turnovers and the larger amounts to make 36.
1 or 2 lb sweet Italian sausage
1 lb whole milk Mozzarella (Mom used Polly O), grated
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (reggiano)
1 or 2 large eggs
1 lb white button mushrooms, cut up
1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto (optional), chopped
2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese
Dash of freshly grated Nutmeg
Dough: 1 or 2 pkgs frozen puff pastry sheets (Pepperidge Farm)
Thaw puff pastry and cover with plastic, removing each sheet one at a time as needed.
Finely chop the prosciutto, if using it, and set aside.
Slice the mushrooms and saute in a little butter and olive oil until it looks like this. Then. set aside the mushrooms and in the same pan, add a little olive oil and heat until shimmering.
Prick the sausage all over with a fork and add to the hot pan. Fry the sausage for 3 minutes on each side making sure each side is browned. You can cut the sausage in half to make sure it is cooked through.
Next, cut the whole mozzarella into chunks and place in the food processor. Pulse a few times until it looks grated. Place it into a large bowl.
Place the sausage into the food processor and pulse a few times until the sausage is coarsely chopped. Place the chopped sausage into the bowl with the other ingredients. Place the cream cheese on top of the warm sausage.
In the bowl, mix up all the ingredients using a big wooden spoon until everything is well mixed. Set the bowl aside covered with a piece of plastic until ready to use. If the filling is too liquidy, place in fridge while you prepare the dough.
Take out one sheet of dough from under the plastic and lay it out on a pastry board covered in plastic. Score the dough with a serrated knife into six pieces.
Take one of the squares and place on a piece of plastic or wax paper. Cover it with another piece of plastic or wax paper and roll the dough until it is large enough to be a good sized turnover. Look at the pictures for an idea.
The dough is very stretchy, so pull it over the filling and press the filling as you go so it will not come out at the edges. Pinch the edges together and with the tines of a fork, press all around the edges to seal the dough. Make sure you did not go through the dough or the filling will seep out as it bakes. However, it the filling does seep out, just cut it off with a knife before serving it. (Note that in my picture, the filling is seeping out. Oops.)
At this point you can place the turnovers on a baking sheet and cover with plastic and refrigerate until time to bake, or you can freeze them on a cookie sheet, and then place in a freezer safe plastic bag until the day you plan to serve them.
To bake the turnovers, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place them on the middle rack of your oven and bake until golden brown – 30 minutes.
Panzerotti (Sausage Turnovers)
- 1 or 2 lbs sweet Italian Sausage
- 1 or 2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese
- 1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto (optional)
- 1 lb white button mushrooms
- 1 or 2 eggs
- 1 lb whole milk mozzarella, grated (Polly O is fine)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan (reggiano)
- Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 or 2 pkgs of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets removed from the freezer at least 20 minutes before using.
- Implements needed: a large bowl to mix up all ingredients, a 10 inch non-stick frying pan, a large wooden pastry board, plastic wrap or wax paper, a large chopping knife, a wooden spoon and a spatula, a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
- For the Filling:
- Finely chop the prosciutto, if using, and set aside. Open the box of mushrooms, rinse them with cold water and wipe any residual dirt off them. Remove the stems and slice up the caps. I slice in half and then three times the other way. In the 10 inch saute pan over medium high heat, melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil. Heat until butter is foaming. Add chopped mushrooms and stir around until coated with oil butter mixture. Continue to stir and saute until mushrooms turn dark and look cooked through, but are still moist. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and heat until shimmering. While oil is heating, open sausage pkg and prick sausages all over with a fork. Add to pan and reduce heat to medium. Brown sausages all over - 3 minutes on all four sides. Cut in half to make sure they are cooked through.
- While sausage is browning, cut mozzarella into slices or chunks and place in bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until the cheese looks grated. Pour cheese into a large ceramic bowl. Add the mushrooms, prosciutto, parmesan and egg(s) to the same bowl. Place the cut up browned sausage into the bowl of the food processor and pulse a few times until the meat looks coarsely chopped. Pour chopped sausage into the bowl. Place the cream cheese on top of the warm sausage. The sausage should be warm enough that the cream cheese melts into everything as you stir all the ingredients in the bowl until they are well mixed. Set the bowl of filling aside while you prepare your dough.
- Take the dough out of the package. Lay out each sheet on plastic wrap or wax paper and cover with plastic or wax paper. Cut each sheet (do this one sheet at a time) into six squares (or into smaller squares if you want to make smaller turnovers.) Take one square and place it on a piece of plastic. Cover it with another piece of plastic and with a rolling pin, roll it out to the size you want. This takes just a few seconds. The dough is very stretchy. Place a dollop of filling in the middle of the dough. Bring the top of the dough down over the filling and pull it over the filling to meet the bottom edge. You can push the filling around a bit to leave a border around the turnover. Press the dough edges together . WIth the tines of a fork, press the dough edges all around making sure the filling is not coming out. Place the completed turnover on a cookie sheet.
- When all the turnovers are made, you can bake them now or freeze them and bake them at some later date.To bake the turnovers, place on a parchment lined or ungreased cookie sheet and place on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the turnovers are golden brown on top and also on the bottom. Remove to a wire rack. Serve while hot.
Small turnovers are appetizers. Larger turnovers can be a main course dish.